For a number of reasons, Americans 50 and older are divorcing at a much higher rate these days. “Gray divorce” is becoming increasingly common, as advances in healthcare and nutrition have enabled Americans to live longer, healthier, more productive lives. Many couples feel that once they have raised their children, there is little reason to stay in an unhappy marriage. In 2014, a quarter of divorcing couples were age 50 and older—up nearly 10 percent over the past 30 years.
This has lead researchers to question the effects of older Americans’ divorcing at such unprecedented rates. Researchers are examining the effects on adult children, as well as how divorce affects retirement security. When a couple nearing retirement divorces, they almost universally can expect to see a substantial decline in their standard of living. This is because the cost of supporting two households (two water bills, two electric bills, two mortgages, or rent payments), is significantly higher than supporting one. People usually budget their retirement savings based on the expectation that they will only have one household to support.
Retirement and Alimony
As a result, many older Americans are forced to put off their retirement to meet their alimony obligations. It is a difficult conflict to resolve: the tension between creating an alimony stream for the dependent spouse, while making sure that the bread-winning spouse is able to retire at some point.
Gray divorce also has a disparate impact on women. Women initiate more than half of all divorces after the age of 40, according to the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP). This is true even though women tend to have to sacrifice their standard of living more than men. This is because women typically earn less than their husbands, and frequently have taken time off from paid employment to raise their children. Yet, for some reason, women are less inclined to stay in an unhappy relationship, according to the director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families at the University of Texas at Austin. Fortunately, this will likely change over time, as women who gained more equal footing with men in the workforce during the 1980s are entering their silver years.
People divorcing after 50 face unique issues. Although child custody battles are not an issue, people are faced with serious financial challenges, like dividing retirement savings meant to support a single household.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Represent Older Individuals Seeking Divorce in Maryland
Whether you are a dependent spouse or a breadwinner, Americans over the age of 50 face unique challenges when considering divorce. The experienced Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles know these challenges inside and out, and are dedicated to helping you prepare for a new and exciting future. Call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online today. With offices located in Hunt Valley, Pikesville, and Towson, Maryland, we represent clients in Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County, and Howard County, including Towson, Essex, Columbia, and Bel Air.